September 30, 2023

Gun violence: An American Dilemma

It is useless to quote Shakespeare from his play The Tempest. “The past is prologue” is an overused cliche but useful for my rant on the runaway gun violence in certain areas of the country and our great city. Moaning about Chicago styled weekends in this southern Mecca does not move us to a different and peaceful neighborhood future. Past is prologue suggests that future choices will determine the quality of life going forward.

I know that we have been told that Atlanta is the black Mecca and Washington D.C. is the chocolate Mecca. H Town has almost one and three fourths’ times as many black people than New Orleans and Atlanta combined and a stronger economy. This is true before and after Hurricane Katrina.  In Washington, D.C. a mini billboard signs read, “IF BLACK LIVES MATTER, WHY ARE BLACK PEOPLE STILL KILLING EACH OTHER. “I do not mean to suggest that this problem is solely a black problem, it is an American Dilemma.

A few weeks ago, a young black man was sentenced in the murder of Delindsey Mack. Mack, affectionately known as “Poppie,” was a young Lamar student that was the victim of a gangster styled execution a few blocks from the school. As I and a legion of social workers were trying to redirect and refocus his life, street life caught up with him and all the kings’ horses could not prevent his murder.

This past Monday night and early Tuesday morning witnessed six shootings in six hours in H- Town. As of the writing of this article, all the victims are recovering. It is truly disgraceful that in this technological superpower and moral dwarf (USA), 90 Americans are killed every day by handguns. It is equally disgraceful that nine kids are accidentally killed by guns every day in America.

This is not griping about spilled milk. This is a quest for solutions that work and last. When David Dinkins was the Mayor of NYC around 2000, NYC had 2,000 murders a year. When Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner instituted COMSTAT, murders were driven down to a level that enabled New York to boast that it was the safest big city in the world. Even now, keep in mind that Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia and Houston had higher murder rates over the past few years than New York.

The gun laws and enforcement are draconian in New York. Unauthorized possession of a gun can have you beamed to Riker’s Island faster that Jack, District Attorney of Law and Order can reject a guilty manslaughter two plea. I mention this because during the years of the receding homicide rates in the 2,000’s Stop and Frisk was in place. This was before a federal judge found that some major elements of Stop and Frisk were unconstitutional. Mere pups (young lions) were circumspect about leaving home with a weapon for fear of being stopped and ferried to Rykers Island. Yes, it is reasonable to assume that conflicts and turf wars continued, but they were less deadly.

A loving MOM and DAD purchased a 9-millimeter handgun for their disturbed boy as a Christmas present and the child goes to his Michigan school and blasts 5 of his classmates. Is this a preventable tragedy? Damn straight.

In our Houston backyard, in the village of Santa Fe in 2018, a 17-year-old tried to wipe out his school. He shot 10 of his schoolmates dead and wounded 13 others and traumatized the entire village. His weapons were a 12-gauge shotgun and a 38 snub nose pistol. Preventable, damn straight.

In Austin, Texas, a UT trained physician legislator authored and passed HR 1927, Sept. 1, 2021. This PERMIT LESS carry law abolishes the stipulation that one must be licensed to carry and endangers public safety.

Road rage outside Minute Maid after an Astros game cost a family a child. Is this a preventable tragedy? Damn straight. Have we forgotten Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? I know that Newton is talking about the physical order but grant me a little liberty in the moral order.

For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. The nation is at a fork in the road. Moms and Dads must demand action. Action that will repeal or modify HR 1927.

Don’t exhale, God forbid that the Supreme Court will strike down the New York gun acquisition law. Currently, in New York a permit is needed to carry a gun outside the home. If you want to carry in the public square, you must have a compelling reason.

Envision a world with armed and untutored citizens, some willing to be vigilantes on subways and Metro buses. Impulsive citizens, young and old at stadiums and universities. If the court defies common sense, New York and the country will be less safe.

Background checks work by keeping guns out of the hands of the reckless. Reckless to me means that if a woman has a peace bond against a violent offender, she and her children must be protected at all costs. Policy is reckless if the offender has easy access to a firearm. Witness the killing of a family of 6 children and the mother by a deranged daddy in Harris County a few years ago. The “sick” brother even killed two of his own biological kids.

Let us keep in mind that as you operate on the maxim that “it takes a village to raise a child “that “everyone in the village isn’t healthy”. Some of the brothers and sisters are “sick” and some are “Bonafide crazy.” Passivity and trying to escape through vicious attractions and illusions will only hasten the disorder.  Remember that Hushpuppy said in Beasts of the Southern Wild, “I have got to take care of mine”. It is our duty to provide a meaningful future for unborn generations. Indeed, the true test of civilization is whether we can plant a tree that will provide shade for future generations.

Most of the problem can be traced to corrupt politicians that have been captured and prostituted by the gun lobby. But we have failed to convey to many of the elected class that they work for us and should be accountable to the people.

Whether you are in Congress or the State Legislature, the people must come for those that have shirked their duty to the backbone of the democracy, THE PEOPLE, starting in November 2022.


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